HARRIMAN — The Harriman Army-Navy and the Harriman Clothing Co. are two stores most shoppers wouldn’t expect to find under the same roof.
On one side of the shared space — the Army-Navy section — shoppers can find ammo cans, T-shirts infused with insect repellent and tents.
An old-fashioned torpedo hangs from a rafter in a back room.
A stroll to the other side of the shop is like stepping into an alternate — and much more glittery — universe.
Pop music is playing and crystal earrings sparkle under glass cases. The owner of both stores, Madelyn Goldberg, is waiting between the racks of rhinestone-encrusted prom dresses and elegant mother-of-the-bride gowns to dole out honest fashion advice.
It’s a part of the customer service ethic that Goldberg credits for keeping the store in business for 40 years, even in the ever-growing shadow of the region’s retail mecca, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and the big-box stores lining Larkin Drive.
“People flock to ‘new’ initially,” Goldberg said. “They come back to us. I’ve witnessed it time and again.”
Goldberg and her associates wait outside dressing rooms as shoppers try on satiny, belted numbers and shorter dresses. Spring is a busy season as shoppers plan for proms and summer weddings.
On Tuesday morning, Goldberg, warning Cindy Wall of Warwick that she was going to be honest with her, said, “This dress has been done and done and done,” though the chorus of onlookers admitted the taupe gown flattered the woman.
Wall had come to the boutique side of the business to prepare for her son’s wedding.
The last time she had been at the Harriman shopping mainstay was about 15 years ago, when she came with her son to buy camouflage gear and paintball equipment.